Fodor's Expert Review Pura Besakih
Bali's so-called "mother temple" exemplifies island Hinduism and, regrettably, tourism-driven greed. Some 3,000 feet (900 meters) up Mount Agung's southwestern slope, Pura Besakih includes 23 temples, interiors usually closed to visitors, about three hours from southern resort areas. Pura Pentaran Agung dominates, with six stages climbing the mountainside. Equally striking are lines of women worshipers in matching sarong and kebaya (form-fitting long blouse), swaying up temple paths, fruit offerings balanced on their heads, and views to the sea if clouds clear. Besakih hawkers and guides – some knowledgeable, most negligible – throng visitors; steer clear and accept no offers without setting a price first. Most visitors daytrip to Besakih; some skip the temple and just cruise nearby mountain roads.